Review – ‘The Last Blockbuster’ documentary

Review by Benjamin Gummery

The Last Blockbuster is a fun, nostalgic look back at the era of video rentals and the story of how one small town video store managed to outlast a corporate giant. Featuring interviews with comedians and celebrities with ties to Blockbuster including Adam Brody (“The O.C.”, Jennifer’s Body), Ione Skye (Say Anything, River’s Edge), Doug Benson (“Getting Doug with High”, The Lego Batman Movie), Paul Scheer (“The League”, “Veep”) and director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob), with narration by Lauren Lapkus (The Wrong Missy, “Orange Is The New Black”).

Filmmakers Taylor Morden & Zeke Kamm follow the manager of the world’s sole remaining Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon – Sandi Harding, as she reflects on the store’s vibrant past and navigates the difficult task of keeping a video rental store open in the era of streaming. Taking us through the history and subsequent rise and fall of the franchise, the documentary reveals the real reason why Blockbuster went out of business (hint – it wasn’t Netflix), while celebrating the unique and defining culture it created in the ‘90s, honouring a simpler times and the sense of community that could once be found in Blockbuster locations across the world.

There have been a plethora of documentaries in recent years dealing with VHS nostalgia and even video stores but this film specifically tells the story of the rise and fall of Blockbuster featuring a nostalgic look back with some well known faces as well as following the very personal story the owner of the very last Blockbuster store in the world.

The film-makers strike a good balance between these different elements. There is a detailed and ‘warts and all’ telling of the story of the successful yet ill fated rise and eventual fall of the once video giant with some impressive interviews with those in the industry as well as ex customers and employees, there is the nostalgia fest of people remembering their experiences of Blockbuster (both good and bad…) but the real shining light of this film is following Sandi Harding (the owner of the last blockbuster in the world in Bend, Oregon) as we learn how the store has become a part of the community and is very much a family business. As a charecter you are immediately fascinated in her and by the end you will be in no doubt as to why This blockbuster is the last surviving location in the world.  The film-makers passion for the subject matter is clear in the making of this film which was clearly a labour of love; whilst at the same time they are able to poke fun and not take themselves or the subject matter too seriously making this documentary a very enjoyable & informative watch.


The film is released on VOD, BluRay/DVD (and ofcourse, a special limited VHS release….) on December 15th 2020.
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